Overview of electronic signature law and its legality in Belgium
Belgium has recognized electronic signatures as legally valid ever since the passage of The Acts of 20 October 2000 and 9 July 2001. In 2016, the eIDAS regulations standardized these laws for all EU member countries, including Belgium.
Understanding Belgium’s legal system
Belgium operates under a civil law system, which is derived from Roman law. Civil law systems are based on a codified set of principles and are regularly revised and updated. Unlike common law systems, this type of legal system doesn’t rely very heavily on legal precedents.
However, Belgium’s legal system does contain many elements of common law systems.
The country favors a civil law system when it comes to family relations, property, criminal law, and contracts. However, the country’s taxation and banking systems more closely resemble a common law system.
Belgium’s legal system is very similar to the legal systems in Austria and Germany. Each of these countries is technically operating under a civil law system but resembles a common-law system as well.
An overview of eIDAS regulations
The Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) regulations came into effect in July 2016. The goal of these regulations was to provide a consistent legal framework for secure electronic transactions across the European Union.
The eIDAS regulations made it easier for businesses to fully digitize their business processes. That’s because it gave both businesses and citizens the peace of mind to know when and how electronic signatures are considered legally acceptable.
The eIDAS regulation is considered a regulation, as opposed to a directive. That means it applies to all EU member states.
Local technology standards in Belgium
Belgium follows a tiered legal model, which means it recognizes a QES as a distinct type of electronic signature. In tiered countries, a QES is given a special legal status in terms of authenticity and trustworthiness.
As an EU member, Belgium follows the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to define what qualifies as a QES.
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